Partnership enables community to connect with potential school donors

Sunbeam-1(web)

Ella Patterson volunteers with the Foster Grandparent program through Sunbeam Family Services. (Provided)

Often, individuals and groups want to contribute supplies to Oklahoma City schools but have difficulty finding reliable, well-established channels by which to do it.

Partners in Action, a joint effort of Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) and the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, is a technology-based outreach program that can now connect the community with education-minded businesses throughout the metro.

“These are our kids and our schools and our city,” said Mary Mélon, foundation president and CEO. “The goal here is to connect the community with the school so … there is a sense of ownership and responsibility whether they have children in these schools or not.”

The desire and intent has always been there, but the mechanism for making the connection was not, she said.

Partners in Action celebrates its launch with a special event, 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15th St.

Already, more than 300 community donors, or partners, are ready to help over 46,000 OKCPS students.

The schools are in desperate need and there isn’t just one solution to the problem, said Ashleigh Arnall, community relations manager for OKCPS.

“There are two huge components … the community and the school site,” she said.

The two entities are now rolling out EZ Partner, new software by Relatrix, as a key component to help make the connection between partners, donors and schools. The software has been used in several other districts with success, Arnall said. It allows school staff to upload their needs into the database while enabling potential donors in the community to search for needs that they can meet.

It augments the existing affiliation between the foundation and Donors Choose, a nationwide database that allows donors and teachers to connect across state lines.

Percy Kirk, regional manager for Cox Communications, explained why it is investing its time and money as a sponsor partner.

“When we build strong schools, we build strong citizens who will stay in our community and forward us through the next generation of success in Oklahoma City,” he said.

Kirk also chairs the foundation’s Partners in Action Committee.

“We can all make a difference,” said Ramiro Vasquez Padilla, owner of La Oaxaqueña Bakery on OKC’s south side. “This is our community and the schools are our community.”


Print headline: Active allies, The Foundation for OKCPS connects donors with schools in need.

Brett Dickerson

This article was written by an Oklahoma Gazette contributor. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story's headline in your subject line.

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